Apple: “We Will Have 100 Million Streaming Music Subscribers…”

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Updated, 2:00 pm PCT: Apple has just announced ‘Apple Music’ at WWDC in San Francisco about 5 minutes ago.  Most we expected, here are the top-level features:

  • $9.99 monthly cost.
  • Catalog on par with Spotify (10s of millions of tracks)
  • First three months free.
  • Initially, iOS only: iPad, iPhone, Mac, etc.  Android coming soon but no date specified.
  • Radio stations will be integral, including the first-run Beats 1 with celebrity and expert curation.
  • Available initially June 30th

We’re preparing our detailed report on the service now, stay tuned for the deep-dive.  

And here’s our early morning report, from 6:45 am PCT:

Apple wants to make an utterly crushing impact with its upcoming streaming music launch, slated for unveiling today in San Francisco.  But how utterly crushing?  According to pre-launch tough talk from inside Cupertino, Hooli Apple wants nothing less than 100 million paying subscribers, a number that would eclipse Spotify’s current 15 million.

That number would also more than double the entire global music subscription number: according to trade group IFPI, 41 million are currently paying for a streaming music service, though insiders say that number is highly inflated by discounted plans, bundled mobile plans, and other cut-rate non-sense.

“While Apple wouldn’t comment last week, a person familiar with its plans said Apple has an ambitious goal to sign up 100 million subscribers for a new streaming service that will cost $10 a month and compete with other on-demand services such as Spotify and Rhapsody.”

The New York Times, early this morning.

But wait: might Apple be veering into hyperbole while inhaling its own reality distortion fumes?  Ginormous red flags are waving on this one, including a plan to limit free access to just three months.  Meanwhile, megaliths like YouTube offer completely unlimited, unfettered free access, while Spotify offers the same (at least for now).  Add Pandora’s all-free, all-the-time radio selection, and you have a giant stack of freebie competition for one over-confident Apple.

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And there’s little sign that things will change: just recently, YouTube defiantly underscored its commitment to ad-supported free content, a sentiment echoed by yet another 8,000 pounder in the jungle, Soundcloud.  Separately, Spotify has vehemently denied claims that its free-access tier will be limited to three months.

Other pre-launch details we know:

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook is slated to announce the service himself at WWDC in San Francisco, likely with high-profile artists.
  • Beats Music will be retired, and subsumed into the upcoming Apple Music launch.
  • Price point will be $9.99, or $10, or something around there.


Written while listening to Sepultura and Dio on TIDAL.

15 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    I don’t like Apple. But all the on-demand streaming companies deserve to get crushed. They have all had years to perfect their product and they still suck.

    As a consumer, this is what I see:

    Rdio: You want these features? Sorry but they aren’t social.

    Rhapsody: Give us your input so we can completely ignore it.

    Spotify: Don’t bother telling us. We don’t care.

    Tidal: We deserve your money. Because reasons.

    What do I want? I want a service that lets me include local files I legally purchased with my streaming library and has a PC software player and mobile app that doesn’t suck. Is that really too much? If Apple can do this they will get my money.

    By the way, Rhapsody just offered me a year for $7.50 per month. Something tells me they are feeling the heat.

    • dricht1

      First Commenter: Microsoft’s native music stuff has changed about a dozen times in the past couple years, but right now it does one thing extremely well: Any file you have, wherever you got it, can be dropped into the OneDrive ‘music’ folder and accessed on any other device (either streamed or downloaded) with Microsoft’s Music app. I currently use it on my desktop, phone, and surface pro 3.

      Seems to sync playlists too. May be worth checking out.

    • Nissl

      Google Play lets you upload up to 50k files from the cloud to your desktop and permanently store them for free. Very convenient as I can use my old CDs to fill in artists (mostly 60s-70s) not on the service. They are lacking a PC software player, though, but their web player has gotten really fast and dramatically reduced the number of glitches – to basically zero – since I last used them 18 months ago, while the mobile app’s always been solid.

  2. Frank

    Another misleading header . . . don’t be such a douche Paul

  3. Willis

    If you are using boats to represent streaming services, shouldn’t they be sinking?

  4. Tone

    As an ardent fan and music industry professional, I would consider paying $10 for unlimited streaming through iTunes. I listen to most of my music there now, so it would be more convenient than Spotify. Also, I’ve never liked Spotify’s dark interface. It sounds silly, but iTunes is more pleasant to look at.

  5. Nissl

    If there’s a killer differentiating feature to this service, they *really* need to be hyping it better. So far all that’s come across to me, as a consumer, is that they have a lot of user credit cards and the cash to fight a war for exclusives (which is just annoying).

  6. hoodun

    Hopefully Apple will crush everyone else and create a model that works in the decades to come.

  7. Allan B

    I’ve used them all, I hate how I can’t just search for something like I can in youtube, can’t get an easily organized view of my preferred files in any system, somehow still get stuck with ads thanks soundcloud, but can’t also play from my collection like I can through Amazon’s player; which to me is becoming my preferred resource, I have access to my purchased albums without taking up space on my device. However, if I’m not connected to the internet I lose all that.

  8. There is something...

    So, it seems that we will be able to stream songs from our iTunes library too, even if not in Apple’s catalog.

    Bye bye spotify in a couple weeks…

    • Bald Headed John

      Hopefully this feature will function better than iTunes Match. That functioned horribly if you have a huge library like I do.

  9. Anonymous

    Could anyone please tell me the only thing I want to know — can everybody stream my iTunes songs for free?

    In that case I’ll have to find another service asap.

  10. Anonymous

    I doubt Apple Music will get the necessary licenses to kill what’s left of the industry.

  11. Anonymous

    How can a government mandated royalty for radio play be the norm but not a government mandated royalty for streaming?